The Hiltoppers, and that is with just one “L” in the name, have a long tradition of high school basketball and they seem to be on the cusp of making a run every year only to have issues.

Perhaps this is the year they make a sprint toward a conference title and maybe even a regional title.
Head coach Joe Vanzo led the club to a 13-16 finish last year overall but a respectable 6-3 and second place finish in the South Central Conference behind Greenville.

Vanzo is a Hillsboro native (Class of 2002) and would love to bring a winning team to the fans of this program.

Last season he had a young group that at times played very well, including a narrow loss to eventual regional champ Nashville, 59-53, in the semifinals of the Greenville 2A Regional.

He hopes that the experience will show some rewards this winter.

Coach Vanzo returns all five starters and some key reserves.

Donavan Moore, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, averaged some really eye-opening numbers as a freshman last year.

He produced 15.6 points and 3.1 rebounds a game for the Hiltoppers. Added to that 3.1 assists and 1.7 steals per game, and he was an important factor in the wins.

Six-foot-one junior point guard Drake Paden tossed home 9.2 points and grabbed 3.1 rebounds while handing out 2.5 assists per contest as a sophomore.

There are two senior starters returning, 6-foot-2 Jordan Teutken and 6-foot-3 Steven Fenske.

Fenske was also an offense threat from the forward position, hitting for 13.2 points per game while grabbing 8.7 boards.

“Fenske was first team all-conference last season and Moore was a third team pick. Our team depth at forward should allow us to play through injuries as long as everyone comes back out,” said Coach Vanzo. “Our guard play is the best it has been since our coaching staff has taken over the program six years ago.”

Add 6-foot-2 junior post player Dillon Civitate to the mixture and Hillsboro will have good size at all slots on the lineup card.

Coach Vanzo will also have a couple of other players to fill in; 6-foot-1 senior forward Mitchell Reynolds and 5-foot-10 junior Kaiden White.

“Our biggest area for improvement is at the defensive end of the floor. Our team lacked consistency and at times weren't committed at that end. A repeat in that area will lead to a disappointing season,” added Coach Vanzo. “Offensively, we have pieces, but need to learn to play together more effectively. I expect that to happen this season. I think Drake Paden is as good or better than any point guard in the conference and has improved significantly with a very active summer. Moore is stronger and longer and should be a plus player at both ends of the floor. Kaiden White provides quality depth at both positions; he was our most improved player over the summer.”
N21 @ Shelbyville J13-20 Litchfield Invitational Tournament


Carlyle Kaskaskian Classic J23 Williamsville
D5 Raymond-Lincolnwood J26 @ Greenville
D8 Pana F2 @ Carlinville
D16 @ Champaign St. Thomas More F8 Staunton
D19 @ Vandalia F9 @ Nokomis
D22 Glen Carbon (IL.) Father McGivney F10 Auburn
D26-29 Carlinville Holiday Tournament F13 @ Piasa Southwestern
J5 @ Litchfield F16 Roxana
J9 Gillespie F19-23 IHSA Regional TBD